Dubrovnik, pearl of the Adriatic, the city whose beauty enchants the whole world and which attracts many visitors. The place has a rich historical heritage, with imposing city walls being the most valuable part of its legacy. Whether you like antiquity or not, Dubrovnik will certainly not leave you indifferent!
O beautiful, o beloved, o sweet Freedom,
God has given us all the treasures in you,
You are the true source of all our glory,
You are the only decoration of this Dubrava...
These words Croatian poet Ivan Gundulić used hundreds of years ago to describe the devoteness of his city to liberty. Centuries old Dubrovnik Republic on the wings of the same freedom has become the greatest power in this part of the Adriatic, and its karakas sailed the seas to England, India and America.
Today, Dubrovnik is a pearl of the Mediterranean and a place that tourists simply adore! For a good reason, since it is a city with incredibly rich history and heritage. Monumental city walls are almost two kilometers long, Dubrovnik Republic was a place where the oldest document on maritime law in the world and the oldest European legislation on maritime security were created, and it also has the oldest European pharmacy that is constantly used in the pharmaceutical purposes!
Located at the foot of hill Srđ, where you can catch some magnificent views of the Old Town, it will always lure you back to visit it and enjoy its charms. The best starting point for experiencing Dubrovnik's magic are one of the gates of the city walls - Pile and Ploce.
Before you pass through Gate of Pile, on the right side you'll notice the fort Lovrijenac, whose giant stone walls in some parts are 12 meters thick! Today, the fort is one of the symbols of the popular Dubrovnik Summer Festival. Numerous performances are played every year in the courtyard of Lovrijenac, with Shakespeare's Hamlet being always especially interesting. On the left hand side you will see Minčeta, the highest city tower, which looks like a crown. In fact, in the past, it really was the "crown of beautiful women” ( La belle femme ), i. e. a bronze cannon named like that, which weighed 70 tons, used to be there.
As soon as we get through the Pile Gates, we arrive at Stradun, the liveliest part of the city. Complete in stone, as well as the entire old city, it shows Baroque splendor of its own, and of the palaces and churches that surround it. There are also famous monasteries nearby - Franciscan, Dominican and Monastery of St. Claire. The Franciscan Monastery is also known under the name of 'Little Brothers', symbolizing the spiritual call of this order, and there is a pharmacy, already mentioned, from the beginning of the 14th century. The Franciscans are known to be good custodians of the traditions, so it's no wonder that their local library keeps a few hundred incunabula.
Great Onofrio Fountain is the most famous city fountain. There are always people taking a rest there, drinking water and filling their bottles. Many of them might not even know that its construction, more than 600 years ago, marked the completion of Dubrovnik's water supply system. Walking towards the end of the main street, we reach Small Onofrio Fountain and Orlando's column. The latter is a symbol of liberty and during Dubrovnik Summer Games it is used as a base supporting a banner with the inscription Libertas. There is also a beautiful palace Sponza, i. e. former customs office buildings and today home of historical archive. Just next to Sponza, the famous Bell Tower Clock is located.
'Obliti privatorum, publica curate.' (Forget private affairs, take care of the public interest.), reads the label standing in the Rector's Palace, the historic seat of the Dubrovnik Republic, and next to that is the Town Hall, the local administration's current political headquarters. In front of them are two most important churches in the city. The first is the Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to the legend raised on a place where previously a church built by King Richard the Lionheart was standing, after he survived the shipwreck near Lokrum. The other one is the church of St. Blaise, which also has a legend connected to it. The story goes - the saint appeared to a local vicar and told him that Venetian ships outside the city did not come with any friendly intentions. The citizens were immediately alerted, and the city was saved. Since that time, St. Blaise became the patron of the city, and his initials 'S. B.' part of Dubrovnik's pride.
When you continue to the nearby city harbor, on the one side you see Revelin and the Gate of Ploče, on the other side the fortress of St. John. It is the fortress that Dubrovnik is most famous for, i. e. that fortress that appears on city's most popular panorama, i. e. the one on the top of this article. :) St. John's fortress nowadays houses Maritime Museum and Aquarium. Oh, one more thing - you can eat excellent fish or shellfish for lunch and toast with a glass of fine wine (e. g. dingač) in the fort's restaurant, just be patient enough to catch a table.
If you want to have a swim, there's room for everyone. Banje, Lapad, Sv. Jakov and many surrounding towns like Konavle, Župa and Cavtat, offer relaxation on their beautiful beaches and good rest before a night bustle. If you want to have a walk, enjoy a stroll through the cobbled streets and stairs - stairs next to the Church of St. Ignatius are probably the most beautiful ones in Dubrovnik and they quite resemble the stairs of Piazza di Spagna in Rome.
Feeling like partying? There are many lounge bars, taverns and bars in the old and narrow streets, so you can switch from one place to another like you go from one room to another in your own home. Even Lazareti (Lazarettos), once a quarantine, today are a place where you can have fun until the morning.